RSS

Category Archives: Week 6

Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: Internationally

International. Reaching across the seas into different nations. That’s what the focus is this week: international organizations and jobs. Ok, I’ll admit, when I first read this assignment, I though to myself, Really, how many international organizations can there be? I know that we have already explored the countless organizations and communities of practice at the local, state, and national level. However, could there really be international organizations for education early childhood education? The answer is quite simple: no. YES! I was so impressed by the amount of organizations and community of practices that I came across that are international advocates for the well-being of children, their families, and fellow educators. Although there were quite a few, I picked out a handful that appealed to my professional (and personal) interests. Keep reading on to find out more …

NAEYC

National Association for the Education of Young Children

What list of organizations and communities of practice would be complete without the National Association for the Education of Young Children (or better known as NAEYC)? I began to explore this organization with the mindset that it was a national organization, reaching across the United States. However, in one of the first sentences, the words “world’s largest organization” (NAEYC, n.d., emphasis added) caught my attention. Could it be that NAEYC stems across the globe, impacting other educational leaders in different countries? Once again, the answer remains YES! Turns out, NAEYC hosted a recent International Institute that brought together nine different leaders from six countries, so they can learn about the best practices within early childhood education. How cool! In addition to admiring its international efforts to train other educators about best practices, I adore the passion that NAEYC takes to ensure that the well-being of children and their families are being met, especially educationally and developmentally. I enjoy browsing through the countless statements that they uphold, especially in regards to inclusion and diversity. Their statements have impacted my professional development so much that I’ve adopted very similar beliefs that they uphold. I also really, really admire their accreditation program they offer. High quality early childhood education is so important for young ones to reach their optimal potential, and with NAEYC accreditation program, high quality becomes easier to reach and accomplish. It may not be easy, but then again, high quality takes dedication and devotion to achieve! I could continue on about NAEYC and my adoration for this organization, but I think I’ll let you read more about it yourself (National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC], n.d.). Find more information here: http://www.naeyc.org.

STC

Save the Children

Here’s another confession: I have been very focused on local, state, and national efforts in education that I am not brutally aware of the significant needs that face countless children around the world. While this is definitely an area that I need to strengthen, I gained a lot more awarenes by exploring the international organization of Save the Children. I was drawn to this community of practice because it doesn’t just focus on one group of children in a specific location, but rather it highlights numerous children in over one hundred countries around the world. I’m drawn to this organization’s passion to advocate for the health, well-being, and safety of all children, not just those in the United States or Europe (or some other country). Reading about this organization made me realize that as an early childhood educator I need to become an advocate not just for those children that I directly work with, but for the other children around the world who need a voice as well. I am inspire through Save the Children to make my efforts internationally known, so those child refugees in Syria can receive some relief (Save the Children, 2014). Read about these outstanding efforts and more at http://www.savethechildren.org.

CEC

Council for Exceptional Children

I’m sure by now many of you are aware of my passion for inclusion and children with varying abilities. So, really, it shouldn’t be a shock that the Council for Children was included in this group. Like NAEYC, I actually thought that this was nationally based just within the United States, but once again the words “international community” (Council for Exceptional Children, 2014, emphasis added) caught my attention. The Council for Exceptional Children is an national international organization that strives to increase the quality of life and educational opportunities for individuals with varying abilities. I am drawn specifically to this international community of practice because it is a body of individuals who are dedicated to improving the well-being of children (and others) who have disabilities. So often these children remain voiceless and fall between the cracks. Having an organization that advocates and believes in children with disabilities leaves me with hope that inclusion, equality, and diversity will hopefully become well-known topics in the future. I also enjoy that this organization offers countless resources, like publications, public policy, and advocacy opportunities. The Council for Exceptional Children inspires me to join the many voices across the world to advocate for the wonderful children with varying disabilities abilities (Council for Exceptional Children, 2014)! Find out more information at http://www.cec.sped.org.

DEC

Division for Early Childhood

Sometimes you just have to save the best for last. The Division for Early Childhood is actually affiliated with the Council for the Exceptional Children, however it does have its differences. The Division for Early Childhood is specifically for individuals who are working with children with special needs (up to age eight) and their families. So, honestly, this international organization is straight up my alley in regards to my passion! One of my favorite things about this organization is that it teamed up with NAEYC to create a joint position statement on inclusion. Until this statement was released, there was no general definition of inclusion, which lead to a lot of misunderstandings. However, once this joint positional statement was released, inclusion became a lot clearer, especially for the realm of early childhood. Another thing that draws me to this nonprofit organization is that it is geared towards early childhood and special education. Both of these are two of my biggest professional passions, so I get very excited when I start exploring the different positional statement, professional resources, and proposals this organization offers (Division for Early Childhood, n.d.). Go to http://www.dec-sped.org to discover more exciting information!

An International … Job?

I, for one, am not looking to extend my employment opportunities past the boundaries of the United States. Sure, I may spread my wings and fly to another state, but to another country? That is far less likely. However, just because I prefer to stay stateside does not mean that I can not partner with an international organization to impact the lives of children around the world. Exploring the above international organizations and communities of practice lead to the discover of a few exciting job opportunities for my possible professional future. (Whether or not I am currently qualified is another story … read on.)

associate director

Associate Director, Policy & Advocacy, Early Childhood Development

Well, right off the bat, I found a job that can impact many children’s lives within the United States, and even around the world. Save the Children has a position currently open for an associate director in policy and advocacy directly related to early childhood development. I figured I will be getting my Master’s degree in that field, so perhaps I would be a bit more qualified that I expect. But, I expected wrong. This job includes the responsibility of creating and engaging in lobbying strategies to help increase investments in the early childhood field at the local, state, and national levels. Specifically, this individual is to develop and promote educational and advocacy opportunities that reaches the executive and legislative branches at the national level. (Ok, so I may be getting my Master’s in early childhood, but I’m still a small town girl, remember?) I certainly will meet the requirement of the Master’s degree (well, that’s one good step), but I definitely do not have anywhere near five to seven years of professional experience in Congressional and administrative outreach. I also do not have any established contacts “within senior Washington governmental and nongovernmental policy circles” (Save the Children, 2013). While I certainly do not qualify for this position now, I have an idea of how I can become qualified, and I think a community of practice will be able to help me take a few steps closer towards applying for this job (just … many years down the road) (Save the Children, 2013).

executive director

Executive Director for the Division for Early Childhood

Since the Division for Early Childhood is an international organization that resonates closely to my personal and professional passion, why not shoot for the stars and become their executive director? Ok, so maybe I have several more years before this becomes a reality, but it is nice to start envisioning how I can prepare myself now to be an ideal candidate should this position open up again. Basically, the executive director position is pretty much as it sounds: making sure the organization is operating in a manner that achieves its projected outcomes. What does this entail: organizational leadership, administrative leadership, financial management (and planning), ongoing communication with board members, promoting professional development, and recruiting (as well as maintaining) members. Phew, that’s a lot to swallow! I guess I need to start now if I desire to become an executive director in ten years! I do have extensive experience in early childhood special education and early intervention, so that’s a step in the right direction. However, I need to increase (or maybe start is a better word) my skills and knowledge on running a nonprofit business, as well as better financial management skills. In addition, I need to be able to show that I have a successful track record of “marketing, public relations, and communication strategies” (Division for Early Childhood, 2013). While I still have a lot to achieve for this goal, it seems like a great job that would stir my passion, making me a more effective leader.

senior meeting planner

Senior Meeting Planner

Let’s tone it down a bit and try to shoot for a job that is more in line with my current qualifications. Being the senior meeting planner for NAEYC involves managing and coordinating the many details for the annual professional development institute, as well as assisting with the annual national city-wide conference. Being that I love to organize lots of details, this job is starting to show promise! The minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree (check mark!), but I would need at least five to seven years in logistics coordination for associations and multi-site meetings (I have none). So, I may not be an exact match right now, but at least I know which direction to head in! In addition, I can further fine tune my interpersonal and organizational skills, as well as my team working abilities. As I work on all of these areas, hopefully I will be qualified to fill this position one day in the future (NAEYC, n.d.)

So, there you have it! Local, state, national, and international organizations, communities of practice, and job opportunities! I have enjoy these past few weeks of exploring and discovering, as well as reading what you all have found on your journeys. As we wrap up not only this course, but this program, I can hold my head up high, knowing that I have a wealth of information tucked neatly away to help me become an outstanding educator and a dynamite advocate for social change.

Until we meet again for one last time, your colleague-in-crime, Erin

wk6references

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 12, 2014 in International, Week 6

 

Adjourning: Is It Really Important?

This week, we began to explore the different stages that a team progress through as they work together. These five stages are as follows:

5stages

While each stage is important, let’s take a few minutes (or perhaps several) to explore the final stage of adjourning. During this stage, groups are able to wrap up their projects and “reflect on their accomplishments and failures” (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2012, p. 257). It is also during this time that teams are able to celebrate their accomplishments and have “the opportunity to say good-bye to each other and wish each other luck as they pursue their next endeavor” (Abudi, 2011, p. 3). Have you ever experienced this stage when working within a group? How did performance standards and norms affect these groups? I know that I have been in numerous group situations over the years that ranged in performance and expectation levels, which did impact how well that specific group approached that adjourning stage. Here are just a few examples …

That Time I Worked With …

Alright, so I currently work with middle school students in a multiple disabilities support. During this past school year, the team that I worked with was dynamic! We worked so well together that we often did not even need to verbally talk about what to do next. We picked up on each other’s jokes and puns, while effectively working together. When we have to take care of the physical needs of the students, we willingly all pitched in to help, and our flow was so smooth that we surprised ourselves sometimes. We easily reached that performing stage, where we had “gotten to know each other, trust each other and rely on each other” (Abudi, 2011, p. 2). Our excellent team work was not only evident in our relationships, but our students made fantastic strides over the year.

Now, compare that to the next working situation when I was a teacher working with two paraprofessionals. From the start, it was obvious that we didn’t work that well together. I had to repeatedly give instructions and constantly keep them on track. There would be days when one or both paraprofessionals would come strolling in 15-20 minutes late, after I had gotten the students off the bus. When I approached the team about their performance, one of them came back at me with an attitude that effected how well he worked that day. This team struggled to pull together and assist the students. Our low-performance team did manage to make it through the adjourning stage that simply consisted of a “good-bye,” and we all parted ways.

That Time I Lived With …

During my college years, I experienced two (nearly opposite) living situations. For about 3 years, I lived with one other gal who literally was like my other half. Her weaknesses balanced out my strengths, and vice versa. We had the same sleeping patterns and similar class schedules. There were countless times that we enjoyed meals out, shopping together, and even vacations together. We complimented and completed each. We essentially became family.  To this day, years later after completing my degree, we still maintain contact and visit each other frequently. Although there were only two of us, it was apparent that as a team, we were effective!

My last semester of college (my previous roommate graduated earlier than I did), I was roomed with a few ladies that were more acquaintances than friends. Sure, we were nice to each other and respected each other’s space, but it was a much different group experience that my past three years. I did not do much with these ladies, and I preferred to keep to myself. Our schedules were complete opposites to the point that we didn’t get to see much of each other. Although we were a group living in the same environment, we never really worked together towards a common goal. Rather we held on to our own individual’s interests and goals.

High-Performance & Established Norms

As groups proceed through the different stages of group development, their effectiveness relies heavily on their performance levels and establishment of norms. For groups with a low performance and/or poorly established norms, it may be difficult to reach the performing stage, where “teams are functioning at a very high level” (Abudi, 2011, p. 2). In addition, low performance and poorly established norms may make the adjourning stage not as meaningful. Group members may be excited to leave the group, rather than embrace the time to remember memories and say good-bye.

On the other hand, groups with those high-performance levels and well-established norms should be able to reach a high level of effectiveness and work efficiency. Reaching that performing stage can be an easy task to accomplish, as everyone will be able to “combine their skills and knowledge to work toward the group’s goals and overcome hurdles” (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2012, p. 257). Upon the adjourning stage, it may be difficult to say good-bye. After working together as one entity, it may be an emotional task to say good-bye from a group that has been near and dear to your heart. These high-performance, established norms groups may also agree to maintain contact to continue their relationships (Abudi, 2011).

Consider these performance standards and established norms in relation to the examples I gave. When working with the group during the school year, we upheld clearly established norms, which provided a sense of consistency for everyone (including the students). We also were all committed to a high-performance, helping each other along the way. At the end of the school year, it was hard to say good-bye and part our separate ways. We had made so many memories together, that it was hard to let go of that dynamic group. The same goes for my college roommate of three years. Our parting was bittersweet. We both knew that we were off to achieve our life ambitions, but so much of who we were stemmed from our relationship (or very small group). In both these examples, high performance and clearly established norms contributed to a meaningful adjourning stage that lead to a promise of maintaining contact even after our group experience ended.

In contrast, when working with the two paraprofessionals and living with the small group of ladies, it was apparent that both groups had low-performance expectancy without clearly defined norms. This lead to ineffective team work, as well as an abrupt and brief adjourning stage. I do not keep in contact with either group, as I did not feel a need to continue relationships. Looking through these scenarios, I was able to identify that those groups with high-performance levels and clearly established norms have the hardest time saying good-bye and parting ways.

It’s Time To Say Good-Bye …

Part of the adjourning stage involves coming to an end and saying good-bye (Abudi, 2011; O’Hair & Wiemann, 2012). When considering the four different groups I referenced above, I think I had the hardest time saying good bye to the team that I worked with during the school year and my college roommate of 3 years. This was due to the fact that we established a relationship that was rooted in deep trust and respect. We truly looked out for the well-being of each other, rather than holding tight to our own individual interests. Working with these two groups was such a pleasant experience that I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. In addition, we worked well together. It was like we became one. As we reached that adjourning stage, it was difficult to say good-bye to the effective group that we had established (both in regards to the work environment and my roommate) and to the daily interactions that we all so enjoyed.

How Do You Say Good-Bye?

So, by now, you may start to realize that the groups with high-performance levels and clearly established norms were indeed the hardest for me to say good-bye. Yet, how exactly did we complete that adjourning stage? What rituals did we complete to help us say good-bye? Well, let me further explain …

With both my group during the school year and my college roommate of 3 years, we enjoyed a prolonged adjourning stage that lasted about a week. We took our time reliving memories and sharing how much we valued each other. Although it was bittersweet, we took the opportunities to truly instill into each other how much our group (however small) meant to us. In addition, for our last group outing, we enjoyed a meal together. We laughed and cried together, remembering how well our group  interacted. When it came time to that final good-bye, it was filled with tears and hugs, with promises to keep in touch. Due to the tight bond in each group, I have maintained contact with everyone from both groups.

Sadly, the closing rituals for the other two situations (rooming with a few other ladies and working with two paraprofessionals) were little to none. We did not really relive memories, nor did we dread saying good-bye. In fact, I felt relieved that I did not have to participate in those groups. We didn’t share a meal together, nor did we give any hugs for that final good-bye. Rather, our adjourning stage was short and sweet with a simple good-bye and good luck. There has been no contact since these two groups finished working together.

While working on my Master’s Degree ..

Groups or teams come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from just two members (like my college roommate) to a virtual group that comes together through the common bonds of technology. That means YOU! As colleagues, we have come together through the virtual classroom and shared our experiences, knowledge, and stories with each other. The more we get to know each other, the more we bond. The further we proceed in our courses, the more we must rely on. Indeed, as colleagues working towards our Master’s degrees together, we have truly formed a bond and become a team. So, how do we say good-bye? Well, since I have about another year before I have to think about that, I do imagine that it will be bittersweet. For nearly two years, you all have listened to me rambled on through discussion posts, blogs, and sometimes emails. I imagine that as we come together to graduate, we will enjoy getting to (hopefully) see each other in person. I imagine that we will be able to share a meal together to celebrate our accomplishments, while pouring over memories from classes. Finally, as it’s time to part, I hope that we will commit to staying in touch with each other, offering support in the upcoming years.

No, really, Adjourning is Important!

Sure, I will admit, there have been times when I wanted to just skip the adjourning stage and walk away from a group after the last goal was accomplished. But really … it is important to go through the final stage of adjourning. This is an essential stage of teamwork, as it will provide an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and successes in hopes to learn how to work better as a team in the future (should the team ever come back together). In addition, it will also create an opportunity for closure for the entire team. Rather than just completing the last assignment and walking away, the team will be able to say good-bye and have a sense of completion. Finally, adjourning will be able to help each team member identify how they personally performed within a group. Perhaps someone will learn that they need to be more assertive when working on a team or maybe they need to allow others to lead. This self-reflection and evaluation for team members will help individuals learn how to be more effective in future group situations.

So, overall, this post really serves to show how I have learned that the adjourning stage is significant within any group situation. Since I had the chance to say good-bye in all examples, I feel accomplished and ready to move on. Without this opportunity to even say good bye, I think I would have always wondered how the other team members felt. Furthermore, I learned a lot about myself through the adjourning stage, like how to be a better team player and how to improve my communication ability. So, that adjourning stage is essential after all.

References:

Abudi, G. (2010). The five stages of team development: A case study. Retrieved from http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/the-five-stages-of-team-development-a-case-study.html

O’Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2012). Real communication: An introduction. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 10, 2013 in Communication, Week 6

 

The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice, and Oppression

When I first began to go over this assignment and reviewed the three associated key words, I decided that I wanted to take a closer look at just exactly each one meant. What does it truly mean to experience or witness bias, prejudice, and/or oppression? Take a closer look at how one of our main text books defines these words (all definitions are exact quotes – appropriate citation can be found at the bottom of this page and on the right hand side of the picture):

3definitionsOk, so now we know exactly what bias, prejudice, and oppression mean. We have explored how all three of these occur within the world and have begun to observe how they have entered into our own personal and professional lives. However, I took a step back and asked myself when have I personally experienced the effects of one of these terms or when have I witnessed it? While several different examples came to my mind, I knew that I wanted something different and unique. I wanted to represent an marginalized group that doesn’t necessarily come to mind as quickly as others. Sure, I can chose an example of racism or even LGBT-ism, however both of those terms have come to be very familiar in today’s society. So, what other example could I give that showcases bias, prejudice, and/or oppression that has a different story? Just as I was pondering this, I received an email from a dear friend and within seconds I knew exactly how my story was to be told …

The Time that Mexican Kid, err, wait, he’s American?

Meet Sebastien De La Cruz:

(Photo courtesy of http://www.wtae.com/news/national/mexicanamerican-boy-has-encore-song-at-nba-finals/-/9681152/20566306/-/cv2rqe/-/index.html)

He is an 11 year old mariachi singer who is a native from San Antonio, Texas. His singing talent landed him a spot on “American’s Got Talent” last season. His adorable mariachi outfit represents his style of singing, to which he says:

(Photo courtesy of http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/sebastien%20de%20la%20cruz).

However, his story begins after he was asked last minute to sing the National Anthem at a NBA Finals game in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. This kid has a powerful voice – take a minute to listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8GivmO32OSk

So, this 11-year-old boy does a fantastic job of showcasing one of his (many) talents. Yet, he was meant with some pretty nasty prejudice remarks that were plastered all over Twitter, simply because they based their information without accurate proof: they thought he was a Mexican singing the National Anthem for America. When, in fact, Sebastien was born and raised in America! Here are just some of the prejudice remarks that were sent towards Sebastien’s way:

(All Twitter photos courtesy of: http://www.upworthy.com/some-racist-bullies-picked-a-fight-with-an-11-year-old-kid-and-lost-in-glorious-patriotic-splendor?c=upw1)

So, you might think that this prejudiced act would cause some pretty harmful effects for Sebastien. After all, isn’t that what prejudice, bias, and oppression lead to? Negative implications for the individual? Listen to this wise and mature response Sebastien gave in regards to all these negative remarks, an example of how to take a prejudice act and turn it into an opportunity:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=C5n4vQlpLJU

That Really Isn’t Fair Because … 

Hearing Sebastien’s story made me stop to think about how equality truly hasn’t been reached in America yet. It certainly seems fair for a white, “American-looking” kid to sing the National Anthem without so much of batting an eye. I bet if Justin Timerlake sang the National Anthem at 11 at the NBA Finals game, everyone would have praised him, rather than criticized. So, why is this different for Sebastien? He has a powerful voice, just like Justin. He has every right to sing at an event that he was invited to. So it seems unfair that he would have to face such cruelty simply because people believed he was a different nationality. This is where equality has yet to be reached … children and adults are being judged on nationality, ethnicity, race, or other defining characteristics, which leads to different type of treatment depending upon what identity that child or adult is. In my opinion, equality doesn’t judge nor criticize based on nationality … rather it affords the same treatment to everyone, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, and so on. 

I believe that equality also hasn’t been reached because people use incorrect information to judge people and then go public with it. I find this absurd that the social media website, Twitter, allowed such hateful remarks against this boy that were all based on false information.(On a side note, all Twitter accounts who hosted those prejudice remarks have since been shut down or banned.) Would this treatment also be allowed if hateful remarks were posted about a significant public figure based on false information? Probably not, but then again we can never be too sure of the social media and its powerful influence. I do believe, however, that equality was not achieved in just how far those comments based on negative information got. Wouldn’t have equality stepped in and provided just treatment to Sebastien until accurate information was provided? All in all, Sebastien was served a big helping of inequality simply based on his presumed nationality.

Why I Oughta …

Reading through articles and seeing pictures of Sebastien stirred a lot of feelings for me. Initially, I was ashamed of the way that my home country responded to one of our own citizens. How can we as a society respond in such a negative way and cling to false information so quickly without seeking accurate truth? Had we taken the time to recognize that this boy was American, just like the others casting their prejudice remarks, I bet that they would have said something completely different. Shame on America for pinning prejudice remarks on one of their own citizens. Shame on America for only looking skin deep and immediately stereotype and become prejudice. Perhaps our country has a long way to go towards equality … as it appears we are a country with a dominant culture and if you don’t even “look” the part, then suddenly you are lesser than the rest of us. Shame on American for this poor response to Sebastien and his singing of the National Anthem?

In addition, I also felt sadness for the boy who had to endure so much at such a young age. He should have received more praise than shameful remarks for his outstanding singing. He had to bear the brunt of our society’s prejudice attitude when all he was doing was what he was asked to do at the last minute. However, this hint of sadness was replaced quickly with a sense of pride, as I heard Sebastien’s remarks to the media. “People don’t know, they just assume …I’m from San Antonio, born and raised” (Mordeci, 2013). This heartfelt response was genuine and respectful towards a group of people that honestly don’t deserve that. An 11-year old boy stood up to American and showed that that their racist, prejudice remarks wouldn’t hold him down. He’s proud of his country and his father, who defended our country. Sebastien, you made me proud and have shown me what a citizen of the United States should act like.

What is there to change …

Honestly, in order for this incident to turn into an opportunity for greater equity, those within America that hold that racism and prejudice attitude would have to change their thoughts, actions, and behaviors. In order to us to stop automatically assuming who people on just on the surface and then pinning negative stereotypes to them, it’s almost as if we have to re-record those messages with more positive, equal ones. As Americans (and even people in general worldwide), we need to stop judging based on surface culture and inaccurate information. Before we assumed, we should ensure that our facts are correct before attaching our prejudice remarks. If we, as Americans, truly began to uphold this, then I believe that we can move closer towards greater equality.

To read more about Sebastien’s story, you can click here

Reference

Derman-Sparks, L., & Edwards, J. O. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Mordecai, A. (2013). Some racist bullies picked a fight with an 11-year-old kid and lost in glorious patriotic splendor. Retrieved from http://www.upworthy.com/some-racist-bullies-picked-a-fight-with-an-11-year-old-kid-and-lost-in-glorious-patriotic-splendor?c=upw1

 
5 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Week 6

 

Sharing Web Resources – Part 3

zerotothreelogo_bk

I have continued to explore in-depth the website of Zero to Three, which has challenged me to think and learn about early childhood education in new and exciting ways. My personal and professional growth has deepened, and I am gaining additional tools to utilize for my current and future work with children, families, and the community. Below you will find new pieces of information, fresh insights, and fantastic resources that I have recently found through this website.

New Discoveries of External Links ….

While Zero to Three contains wonderful resources and information within the context of the website without having to go to another external source, I decided to peruse a few outside links to see where I would end up. I discovered …

  • In the About Us section, one can easily access the Funded Projects tab on the left hand side that leads to a few external links of how Zero to Three supports additional projects to help foster healthy development during the early years. (You can find this Funded Projects page here.) Simply click on your choice of funded project, which will take you to a description page of how Zero to Three provides supports, and some are followed by an external link for more information. These were two of the external links I explored:

    • bannerEarly Head Start National Resource Center works on the communication systems and people network, building up knowledge, and providing development for programs. When you click here, you will be directed to the Zero to Three page about this project, which will then have the link for Early Head Start National Resource Center. Upon clicking on this external link, I was propelled into a world of fascinating information about the support of the Early Head Start programs in the field of education.
    • logo-occ
    • National Center on Child Care Professional Development Systems and Workforce Initiatives
      (PDW Center) The description on the Zero to Three website can be located here. After reviewing this page, there is an external link connecting readers to the Office of Child Care‘s website. This website provides excellent resources in regards to funding, initiatives, policy and programs, and technical assistance. 

  • Nearing the bottom of the website of Zero to Three, there are four teal-green buttons with a few external links. While one of them directs reads to Early Head Start, as listed above, another button directly links followers to the website of Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Technical Assistance. ( You can find it right here.) This website provides additional information about the Home Visiting program, as well as grant opportunities, webinars, and technical assistance guidance in regards to this program. This external link provides outstanding resources about the home visiting initiative.

Thorough Evaluation of Early Childhood Mental Health

infant_mental_health_

Throughout my educational journey, my awareness about child development, early learning, and early interventions has widened extensively. However, I am still learning about the impact of early childhood mental health, as I was never fully aware that this was a significant issue for young children. Therefore, I opted to explore this area on the website in-depth to discover more about this topic. I found …

  •  … On the Main Page of Early Childhood Mental Health (found here)
    • A description of infant mental health and what research and practice is actively doing to help promote healthy development in this area
    • A short video clip of an experiment called “Still Face” paradigm, which looked at the reactions of an infant when a parent/caregiver suddenly stopped being responsive
    • Additional resources that support this issue
  • …. Little Kids, Big Questions Podcast (listen here)
    • A series of 12 podcasts that cover a range of tough issues when dealing with early childhood
    • While the topics covered topics on a broad spectrum, a few of them were pertinent to early childhood mental health like:
  • Effective strategies that help promote a healthy sense of mental health development (see full descriptions here)
    • Promotion: Reaches out to families to answer questions about usual behavior/development
    • Prevention: Helping families who are in stressful situations
    • Treatment: Direct intervention to help deter the negative impact of stressful situations on a child’s mental health
  • Connections to the DC:0-3R, a Zero to Three diagnostic manual for early child mental health. You can access this phenomenal resource here.
  • Additional resources, reports, and papers that highlight early childhood mental health (Full access and complete list of resources is located here.)

After evaluating this area closely, I was shocked to see the amount of research and support this issue has been receiving, both in past and current. As more research and data documents the development of young children additional investment in early childhood mental health will be made, which will hopefully help identify and address potential problems in young children before they get out-of-hand. This area made me realize how important a holistic approach to child development is, as the entire child needs to be address in order to ensure optimal growth and success.

E-Newsletter: Not a Reality

Even though I subscribed to two different e-Newsletters in the beginning of January, I still have yet to receive anything from Zero to Three in my inbox. In lieu of this missing information, I decided read the policy blog, which discusses policy issues that impact children and families. (Read the entire blog here.) Several of the issues discussed in this blog are related to those that are currently being studied throughout this course. Some new pieces of information I picked up were:

  • President Obama’s Second Inauguration challenges early childhood educators to seize the moment and advocate for the policies that create equal opportunities for all children, especially for those in poverty or at-risk. This blog post helped me see that early childhood educators are on the front-line defense in advocacy. We must raise our voices to start policy awareness.
  • Another blog post discussed the issue of accessibility (or lack thereof) in early childhood education. It discussed how important strong relationships and positive early learning experiences, both of which are in quality early learning programs, are in the life of a child. However, supply and access to such programs remains varied across the state. This post helped me to see how access to quality early childhood education needs to improve in order for all children to have an opportunity.

Overall, this blog provides practical suggestions and tips for effective policy advocacy from families and professionals.

Equity and Excellence … Additional Insights

One of the many aspects that I admire about this website is the wide audience it appeals to. Professionals can find endless resources to help support their knowledge, families can find practical (and helpful) information specifically geared to their child’s age, and even policymakers are able to learn how various policies and legislation are influencing this field. Therefore, the Zero to Three website contains an array of resources and policy briefs about the issue of equity and excellence in early care and education. Some of the information I gleaned that added to my understanding was:

  • Even though at-risk children would probably receive the most benefits from quality early childhood education, this group is more likely to have access poorer quality early learning programs, which will not help with optimal growth and success. Congress has the position to create supports and help expand the accessibility issue for at-risk children through a variety of resources, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant. This piece of information taught me that the government plays a vital role in this field and needs to increase their involvement if all children are to be reached. (To read  this brief in full, please click here.) 
  • In order to be responsive in early childhood education, it is imperative that educators are well-compensated and have a expertise in the specific development of young children. This will increase the level of effectiveness and quality in a program, as teachers will be able to adequately respond to the specific needs of children.
  • In conjunction with professional knowledge, as stated above, it is imperative that teachers have training in how to handle early childhood mental health. Children are being exposed more and more to depression and trauma at a young age, which could increase the level of referrals and interventions through a mental health spectrum. This tidbit of information really helped me to see how vital high levels of education among professionals, including knowledge about child mental health, is in this field. Without this knowledge, children will not be effectiveness reached or responded to. (For additional information about professional development as stated in the two above points, please read this brief.)

Additional New Insights Gleaned …

In addition to the above information, there were a few new insights I gained along the way above the issues and trends in early childhood education.

  • On the Federal Policy Updates page, I discovered a link about the federal budget process. This article documented the step-by-step process that the federal government takes to enforce a set budget in the field of early childhood education. This article was excellent, as it describes very clearly how a budget is passed. In addition, there are practical suggestions for advocating. This article taught me that I have numerous opportunities to advocate for funding through the budget process. I don’t have to wait for a specific period to raise my voice. Advocacy efforts can and should occur from the beginning of the proposed budget to the end. (To read this article, please click here.)
  • As I briefly explored the Health and Nutrition page, I stumbled across an article about optimal eating. Since my son has profound feeding difficulties, I have always assumed that I need to remain in charge and in control when it came to feeding times. However,this article shared that children can regulate their own food and must be able to initiate the acceptance of food. This new insight about the feeding relationship showed me how I was approaching feeding incorrectly. Not only will I be able to improve feeding times with my son, but I will also utilize this new insight in my professional career as well. (To read about The Feeding Problem, click here.)

Overall, exploring the Zero to Three website has expanded and deepened my current knowledge about early childhood education. I discovered numerous pieces of new information and insights, which has shaped and guided my professional development.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Early Childhood Resources, Week 6

 

My Supports

Hi! If you came to visit my blog for My Supports, I have it on its own page. You can access it through two different ways:

1) On the top of the page, you will see five different tabs: Home, Early Childhood Resources, My Connections to Play, My Supports, and Relationship Reflection. Click on the fourth one, My Supports, to read the content.

2) Simply click here: https://littlelaughter.wordpress.com/my-supports/

Comments, if you choose to leave any, can be left directly on that page, or on this post if you wish.

Thanks for stopping by!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 8, 2012 in My Supports, Week 6

 

Intelligence Testing

Assessment of children is the process of gathering information from a variety of resources to help formulate a proper, individualize educational plan. There are several types of assessment that are available, ranging from formal (like standardized testing) to simple observation. In the modern world today, educators have heavily rely upon standardized testing to measure the knowledge of children. This standardized testing can often be harmful to not only the child, but the teachers and school districts if low test results occur. Since standardized testing plays a large part in schools, teachers are often pressured into “teaching to the test,” where children are drilled with standard questions that often cover a limited area of academics. If a class or school where to receive particularly high scores, there may be a monetary reward, which promotes more “teaching to the test” among schools.

While I believe that standardized testing should be administered, it should not be the main source of assessment, and it should never be used as a monetary rewards for teachers and administrators. A child is created of countless thoughts, actions, words, and behaviors. A standardized test cannot produce a holistic view of who a child is and what he/she can accomplish. All it can state is how well a certain subject is known. It will not be able to reveal where a child measures socially nor what some of the best learning methods are for the particular child. Standardized testing scores typically get groups together, amidst numbers and scores, that generally gauge how a classroom or school is performing, not how to better assist children in learning.

Therefore, I believe that when children are assessment, a variety of resources should be used. One of those resources can certainly be a standardized test that will be able to know acadmic knowledge of certain subjects. However, there should be numerous other outlets that are used to create a holistic profile of a child:

  • A cognitive and physical assessment should be taken. How well does the child understand the written language? Does the child reciporcate better through oral or visual output? What is the preferred language? Through identifying specific cognitive strengthes and weaknesses of a child, proper learning instructions can be adapted to the child. In addition, how a child engages physical should also be considered. Is the child developing within the normal physical range for his age group? Does the child tend to get up or bounce around in his seat? Through documenting the physical aspects of a child, the proper environment can be arranged, so the child achieve his optimal academic best.
  • Emotional assessment should also be performed, as it will reveal a child’s emotional state. Does the child appear happy most of the day? Are there periods of saddness and anger? Does a particular subject promote a specific emotional reaction? Through completing an emotional assessment of a child, an educator may be able to design specific learning strategies that promote positive emotions and academic learning.
  • Plenty of documented observation should be taken into account that record how a child behaves under certain situations. Does the child tend to act out more during large group instruction? Perhaps gearing learning through small group instruction would fit that child better.
  • In addition to observation, an assessment of social interaction should be considered as well. Perhaps that child tends to remain an outcast, affecting academic achievement. Through additional methods to help promote positive social interaction, a rise among academic achievement may be seen.
  • Family background information should also be taken into consideration. Does the family have a native language preferred within the home? Is the parent under a considerable amout of stress that may result in less parent support? Through assessing the home environment, clues may be given on how to provide a better academic setting and possibile resource connections for the family.

When collaborating among these assessments, a team should work together to create an appropriate, tailored educational plan for the child. Perhaps the variety of assessments will reveal that the child learns best in a quiet environment with a few children around. Or rather the child gains information should remain active and hands-off. Maybe a child retains information through working independently and with music on in the background. Whichever way a child learns, the variety of assessments will be able to show how to create the best learning environment for that child.

I belive that a variety of assessments should be used for a child that look at the multiple intelligences of a child. The acadmic knowledge should not just be assessed. A child is also a social being, therefore social interaction should be considered. In addition, a child is also cognitively aware. Knowing what the cognitive strengths are show part of who a child is. When assessment, all aspects of a child should be considered, as that is who they are. We simply can’t judge a car based upon the outside appearance. We must consider the entire car, including the motor. Likewise, we can’t judge a child just on his academic knowledge. We must use assessment to formulate a whole view of the child is in order to know how to provide better assistance.

The pressure of standardized testing can be seen not only in America, but in developed nations around the world. In Finland, high school seniors partake in a standardized test that measures how much they know and how well they know it, which will determine their chances of getting into a university. This test lasts for about 43 hours over a period of three weeks. One of the main differences between Finnish and US standardized testing is who receives the pressure. In America, the scores are often reflected upon teachers, administrators, and school districts. Therefore, administration receives the bulk of the pressure, while the students are minimally affected. However, in Finland, the students have a majority of the pressure placed on them, as the results will determine the likelihood of entering into higher education. Another major difference is the level of sophisciation within the standardized testing. Finland students are required to write three essays that include reading and analyzing different texts.

Aside from standardized testing, Finnish schools participate in an array of testing throughout the school year. Within one school year, a student in Finland can expand an average of six weeks worth of testing that are designed by a teacher. Talk about a lot of testing! Whether you consider Finland or America, students have the same general feeling about testing: they don’t like it! Testing may affect students’ lives negatively, create a lower desire to learn, and become a primary reason why students don’t like schools.

On a finaly note about standardized testing, I do not believe that it is for every child. While children within normal developmental range will benefit primary from a standardized test, children with disabilities can be largely negatively affected by a standardized test. A child with dyslexia can become stressed out with the knowledge of an upcoming standardized test. A child with a learning disability that affects reading cognition can become depressed over the fact that he may not know as much as his peers. I believe that children with disabilities should be taken into special consideration when it comes to standardized testing. A different kind of test should be available to assess knowledge in a particular format or on different levels. Through offering tailored standardized tests for specific children, an accurate measurement may be produced, rather than stress and an inaccurate picture of how much a child knows.

Finally, within my school district, children with multple disabilities must be given an alternative standardized testing that measures academic knowledge. Watching these children, who were non-verbal, perform a standardized test about math and science seemed cruel to me. These children were rather putting on a show than showing what they truly know. Rather than expecting these special children to show their academic knowledge, I believe a functional and life skills standardized test should be administered that will show how well they are prepared for real-life situations.

Overall, standardized testing should not be primarly used to create a profile of a child. The multiple intelligene of a child, including emotional, cognitive, and physical, should be assessment and collaborated together to form a holistic view of that child. When a holistic view of a child is available, appropriate and accurate learning strategies can be created to help that child reach his optimal learning level.

References:

http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=344AE6BA-FB34-11E0-B00E000C296BA163

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Intelligence Testing, Week 6